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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-06-04, 06:44 PM   #1
sbhikes
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I think I've started a trend

I started commuting twice a week on my bike. After a while, I noticed there was another bike. One with a big battery pack and a motor. Then there was a second battery-powerd bike, a "Power Bike". Today there was a third bike, a regular mountain bike like I have.

Seems like maybe I've started a bike commuting trend. I imagine those battery powered bikes are because some people come from far away or something. The office is quite out of the way, and at the top of a rather strenuous hill.

Anyway, I think that is rather cool.
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Old 10-06-04, 07:04 PM   #2
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Uh........ sampling bias ahoy hoy.
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Old 10-06-04, 07:22 PM   #3
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I have a friend in England with an electric bike. He started out quite a lot overweight, and has lost something like 70 pounds since getting it. He says (at least, the way he uses it) that it basically levels out the hills for him and allows him to get to work without being very sweaty. It uses regenerative braking for most charging, so even when he's getting an electric boost, it's still mostly energy that he made in the first place.

I like ebikes because they have made 12V and 24V NiMH packs really cheap, good for DIY lights!
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Old 10-06-04, 09:46 PM   #4
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When I started commuting last year, I had not been riding for years. I was motivated to do something about getting more exercise and cycling was a favorite activity when I was in my 20's. At 44 and after some years of sitting on my butt, I was worried about conking out on the hills and in headwinds over the 33 mile round trip. I went out and bought a Giant LAFree Lite electric assist bike.

The LAFree Lite is an ingeneous design. It has no throttle, just an off/low/high power switch. It automatically applies drive force to the chain proportional to the force you put on the pedals. If you are struggling up a hill and slowly mashing on the pedals, you get lots of help. If your gliding along on the flat at a high cadence, the assistance tapers off to nothing. The assistance also rolls off at about 18 MPH. The bike weighs about 50 lbs, so it is rideable with the power off, if a bit slow (not like some 70+ lb. e-bikes). The power system levels the hills and gives the rider confidence. The position is upright enough to see everything, Starting out from traffic lights on hills is quick and easy.

At first I just barely made the 17 mile ride to work without running out of battery but the more I used it the less power I used. It was measurable by the number of lights on the battery at the end of the ride. As the months went by, I started riding my old road bike again on some days to get more speed and my mountain bike for variety. Eventually I pretty much stopped riding the electric bike and started adding long rides on the weekends. Now I ride the electric bike only on the day after an especially tough, hilly 60+ mile Sunday ride and use about 1/2 of the battery power getting to work.

I'm over 7000 miles for the year, including 8 metric centuries, 4 centuries, and a one-day double century.
I don't think I would have done it without the electric bike to help me get off the dime.
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Old 10-07-04, 01:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheg
When I started commuting last year, I had not been riding for years. I was motivated to do something about getting more exercise and cycling was a favorite activity when I was in my 20's. At 44 and after some years of sitting on my butt, I was worried about conking out on the hills and in headwinds over the 33 mile round trip. I went out and bought a Giant LAFree Lite electric assist bike.

The LAFree Lite is an ingeneous design. It has no throttle, just an off/low/high power switch. It automatically applies drive force to the chain proportional to the force you put on the pedals. If you are struggling up a hill and slowly mashing on the pedals, you get lots of help. If your gliding along on the flat at a high cadence, the assistance tapers off to nothing. The assistance also rolls off at about 18 MPH. The bike weighs about 50 lbs, so it is rideable with the power off, if a bit slow (not like some 70+ lb. e-bikes). The power system levels the hills and gives the rider confidence. The position is upright enough to see everything, Starting out from traffic lights on hills is quick and easy.

At first I just barely made the 17 mile ride to work without running out of battery but the more I used it the less power I used. It was measurable by the number of lights on the battery at the end of the ride. As the months went by, I started riding my old road bike again on some days to get more speed and my mountain bike for variety. Eventually I pretty much stopped riding the electric bike and started adding long rides on the weekends. Now I ride the electric bike only on the day after an especially tough, hilly 60+ mile Sunday ride and use about 1/2 of the battery power getting to work.

I'm over 7000 miles for the year, including 8 metric centuries, 4 centuries, and a one-day double century.
I don't think I would have done it without the electric bike to help me get off the dime.

Very interesting and informative. Thanks
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Old 10-07-04, 05:08 PM   #6
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^Yes, very cool!

Especially the charge through braking part! Same technology as found in car hybrids.
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Old 10-07-04, 10:12 PM   #7
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Seems like maybe I've started a bike commuting trend.

umm..no you havent.
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Old 10-08-04, 07:26 AM   #8
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Seems like maybe I've started a bike commuting trend.

umm..no you havent.
Haha.
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Old 10-08-04, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I started commuting twice a week on my bike. After a while, I noticed there was another bike.
My bike is at the train station every day and there were hardly any bikes parked there for years. This summer, I've noticed at least five bikes on differnt occasions parked next to mine. The only problem with these so called "summer commuters" is they lock their bikes with the thinnest of cables!

I use the best U-Lock in the business (Kryptonite 3000) and people still attempt to steal my bike. I think this is the reason why we don't see these "summer commuters" around very long because their bikes get stolen. I'm leaving a note this evening on that cheap MTB that was locked next to mine this morning to dump that cable lock.
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Old 10-08-04, 10:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
The only problem with these so called "summer commuters" is they lock their bikes with the thinnest of cables!
Hey, they're keeping your bike safe! You know, "Run faster than the next slowest camper," and "park next to a bike with a worse lock then yours."
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